Chapter 19: Whenever You Close Your Umbrella You Have Glimpses
One friend suggested out of compassion, “You wasted three years on this stupid research. In three years you would have experienced all these six hundred, without any research. You should have just said yes to that woman. There was no need to do so much hard work. Three years would have given you all the pros and cons - existentially, experientially.”
But Kant said, “I am in a fix. Both are equal, parallel, balanced. There is no way to choose.”
The friend suggested, “Of the pros you have forgotten one thing: that whenever there is a chance, it is better to say yes and go through the experience. That is one thing more in favor of the pros. The cons cannot give you any experience, and only experience has any validity.”
He understood, it was intellectually right. He immediately went to the woman’s house, knocked on her door. Her old father opened the door and said, “Young man, you are too late. You took too long in your research. My girl is married and has two children.”
That was the last thing that was ever heard about his marriage. From then on no woman ever asked him, and he was not the kind of man to ask anybody. He remained unmarried.
The mind is very impotent in a way. It cannot give you any existential juice, any existential experience, and that is the only thing that matters. So please move away from mind. Don’t ask the difference, because there is no difference between no-mind and being present. No-mind is the inner subjective experience and being present is available for everybody. It is the circumference and no-mind is the center. But they are both together. Neither the circumference can be without the center nor the center can be without the circumference.
But the circumference can be experienced, and that’s what has attracted millions of people to a man like Gautam Buddha or Chuang Tzu or Jesus or Moses.It was their integrity, their individuality, their solidity. In comparison to them, people felt hollow. They had immense presence. Other people looked just like shadows, without any souls.
George Gurdjieff started saying to his disciples for the first time in the whole of history - he just died in the year nineteen hundred and fifty.He started saying a very strange thing, and although it is not right, he is not wrong. He started saying to people, “You don’t have souls.” What he meant was: “You don’t have any presence, your being is hollow. Inside you there is nothing but darkness, unconsciousness, absence. Everything is absent.”
You have been told for centuries that you are born with a soul. It is absolutely wrong according to Gurdjieff. I know and he knows that what he is saying is not the truth, but it is a device. He is making you aware of your hollowness, of your emptiness, and he has chosen the best way to hit the nail on the head. He is saying, “You don’t have souls! Forget all that nonsense that tradition has been telling you. That was a deception, but you accepted the tradition that, ‘We have souls already, there is no need to seek and search.’”